February 25, 2018

Main » Turkey's Erdogan makes historic visit to Vatican

Turkey's Erdogan makes historic visit to Vatican

08 February 2018

Turkey has information concerning the source of an anti-tank missile that killed five Turkish soldiers in Syria but it is too early to announce its country of origin, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday.

It was the first visit of a Turkish president to the Vatican in almost 60 years.

He is the first Turkish president to visit the Vatican since 1959, while Pope Francis met with the Turkish president in 2014 during an apostolic visit.

Armenia and the Armenian lobby claim that Turkey's predecessor, the Ottoman Empire allegedly carried out "genocide" against the Armenians living in Anatolia in 1915.

A key talking point for the pair was the situation in the Middle East.

The leader of the Catholic church and the Turkish chief have had many dissimilar views over the years but, the United States' decision to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel weaves a common thread.

Ankara has been infuriated with USA training and arming of the YPG as a reliable force in the fight against the Islamic State, and threatened to move on militarily against YPG-held Manbij in northern Syria, where US special operation forces are based. The Turkish government says the USA -backed Syrian Kurdish militia there to be a terrorist organization and an extension of Kurdish insurgents fighting within Turkey.

In December, the U.S. President Donald Trump had made a decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, instead of Tel Aviv, drawing a large criticism from the global community.

The Holy See says that both agreed on the need to promote peace in the Middle East through dialogue and negotiation, with respect for human rights and global law.

At the end of the private part of the meeting, the pope gave Erdogan a bronze medallion showing an angel embracing the northern and southern hemispheres while overcoming the opposition of a dragon.

Police in riot gear blocked around 150 protesters who tried to get closer to the Vatican palace complex.

"Under the pretext of the state of emergency and the fight against terrorism, tens of thousands of people have become victims of arbitrary repression that continues to worsen and that affects many groups within society, including lawyers, journalists, teachers, academics and researchers".

The far-right Brothers of Italy party decried his visit in a statement that warned against the "Islamization of Europe", a notion often touted by anti-migrant parties across the continent.

Turkey's Erdogan makes historic visit to Vatican